RN19 – race report
It was the fifth year of RN19 and its grown again, 7500 spaces up for grabs this year and they sold out fast.
On the morning of 21st July the sun was shining on Chapelfield gardens, by 8.45 the gardens were packed full of runners and our gazebo stood out like an orange beacon, giving us a brilliant meeting place amongst the crowds. The gardens were buzzing, some excited, some nervous, with the occasional whiff of deep heat permeating the air.
After, as many Jags as possible, had gathered for the group photo. It was time to head off to the start pens, the toilet queues were long, but then that’s to be expected in a race of this size and allowing some time to wait in queue, but sharing some banter with those around you, keeping an eye out for friends in the crowds, soon helped the time pass quickly.
I was in blue start and true to Run Norwich organisation, the race was underway on time, moving 6200 runners through a start line cannot be an easy task, but the organisers have ensured the start went smoothly and soon we were underway.
Prepared for a very hot run, it was pleasantly cool and breezy at half nine in the morning. After the climb towards Chapelfield gardens, it is mainly flat or downhill as you make your way onto Carrow Road. The first few kilometres sailed by, with lots of support from the crowds and Jag crews along the way. The choir singing ‘I’m still standing’ at Riverside put a smile on my face as did many of the signs and excellent marshals along the way.
The first main challenge of the race is Rose lane, yes it is steep, but not too long and once over and around the top, you can enjoy a nice downhill to recover from the climb. By now though, it was getting very warm and a few runners were starting to walk or ease off the pace.
A good flat stretch is then had, between Prince of Wales road and around the cathedral. Between kilometres 8 & 9 its tough, you are nearly there, but you turn off away from the direction of the finish, and can see runners the other side of the road, they would be a kilometre ahead of you.
They are climbing up through Tombland, and I think, that section is harder than Rose Lane, you are tired, very hot by then, and it is time to dig in and get that last kilometre done, (giving Gaynor’s son a high five at kilometre 9, if you can get near him as he had a queue of people waiting to high five him when I was there!).
Turning the corner towards Castle Meadow, was the biggest shout out from the jag support crew, it was perfect and very much needed!
Home stretch now, right turn at Debenhams (I apologise to anyone running near me, but I swore loudly, as I had forgotten about that last hill). One final climb and a sprint to the finish if your legs can handle it!
What an event, it was well organised – I hear some people were left without a goody bag, but they are being sorted, brilliantly supported and everywhere you looked there was a member of the Coltishall Jags. My first Run Norwich as a Jag and will definitely not be my last
I felt nervous as we got to the Race headquarters, This was going to be a record of how far I had come over the year ( the Humpty Dumpty 2018 was my 1st official race let alone 10K!) so I had a mixture of feelings about the race.
We got there in plenty of time, had a few hello’s with the congregating Jags and then got in the loo Q and then bag drop and suddenly there were calls for the 1st wave (I was in the last wave so knew I had time). Made my way to the starting penwhile making sure my bib number was secure and that my Jeffing sign on my back was in place, I got to my pen and got near the back. Lots of chatter and good lucks from fellow Jags and other runners and the 1st wave started and we moved forward waiting forour turn. We got to the start had a quick safety briefing and we were off. The crowds were great though the town and as we thinned out a bit I turned on my beeper, 40:20 was the ratio I had decided to Jeff to. When the 1st beep sounded I called out ‘walkbreak’ and checked behind me to make sure no one was directly behind me, there was a large group who hadn’t heard me and I nearly fell over the curb getting out of there way. Then the beep again and I could get into my race rhythm. Lots of cheering and lotsof keep going when I was on a walk Emoji butI kept focused and into the countryside we ran.
At about 1st K there was the lovely Mr T sending us up the 1st if small incline with another lovelyJag marshalling at the top sending us on the right road. It was about this time (usually the same distance most races) that the other runnersnear me notice I’m Jeffing and small conversations start as we keep passing each other (this happens towards the end of races as well) I have meet lots of runners this way, it breaks up the race and it adds to the whole experience.
Before I knew it the sign for Reedham was in front of me and then it was on into the village with extra water being offered by the marshals and shouts of encouragement from the public, I then turned onto Riverside where there was more Jag supportwhich always encourages me and lifts me up that little bit more. Then it was a left turn onto Mill Rd (the hill) which I decided because of the heat to Power Walk with a capital P as I didn’t want to zap all my energy. It was at that moment I rememberedmy ice towel so wetted it shook it and enjoyed the coolness with a quick wipe over, bliss. Onwards though the roadworks then right up Church Rd (another hill) then the lovely site of 2 Jags on bikes shouting support at the top of the hill, just where we neededit. Then it was the long slog of Halvergate Rd which always seems to have a headwind no matter what the weather!!! It was here I caught up with a fellow Jag running who was feeling the heat so Ice towel again and we set off Jeffing together for the last1.5K ish. It was lovely turning into the last Rd and hearing the crowd then seeing loads of Jags and runners cheering us down the road and then over the finish line. Medal, Water, Banana and Mars bar and a big smile, I knew I had given my all in that heat.
The result was HD 2019- 1:09:20, HD 2018- 1:21:31. So 12 mins faster than last year and an improvement in how I ran as well as my recovery. And I Loved it.